Since 1985 Rimini has hosted Cartoon Club – International Festival of animation cinema, comics and games -, one of the longest-running events of its kind on the Italian scene, which has become a usual appointment in the Rimini summer with its 150,000 visitors. born from the experience of Acli Arte e Spettacolo Rimini, today in partnership with Doc Servizi Soc. Coop.
The creator is Paolo Scarponi, the unforgettable president and man of culture of the Rimini Alcli. Together with him, Isidoro Lanari, a film scholar, and a group of very young fans.
After his untimely death in 1991, some of these young “helpers” decided to carry on his legacy. Over the years, the small initial group of promoters has managed to aggregate other faithful adventure companions around the event – professionals, journalists, sector experts – who have never lacked passion and competence, allowing Cartoon Club to continue to grow and become what it stands for today.
The Festival was born, in the now distant summer of 1985, with the aim of making the public aware of Italian animation cinema, the authors, the production companies and the works that had developed especially following the happy season of Carosello.
Thanks to the invaluable help of cartoonists Osvaldo Cavandoli (from Milan, who spent all the summers of his life on holiday in Rimini – to be precise in Torre Pedrera), Nedo Zanotti (from Rimini, a friend of Cavandoli who had transferred to Milan) and Asifa Italia (International Association representing the authors of animation films of our country), all the protagonists of Italian animation cinema came to Rimini to present their films, in exchange for a day in beach, a piadina, Sangiovese and the friendliness of a group of Romagna representatives of a serious but unusual Festival, rich in content and made without great economic resources.
In the eighties, the projections were still on 16 mm film (in 35 years Cartoon Club has gone through all the technological changes: VHS, Betamax, DVD, up to the current digital formats); it was projected into the suggestive eighteenth-century Antica Pescheria of Piazza Cavour, in the historic heart of Rimini, with the public taking place on a hundred chairs or on the white marble counters, on which fish was once placed for sale.
In 1996, the Festival broadened its horizons and opened up to international animation cinema. In the same year he began to take his first steps in the comics sector.
1997 will be the year of the great change, when Cartoon Club doubles its locations. In addition to the Antica Pescheria, he begins to transfer some events to Piazzale Federico Fellini in Marina Centro, in front of the dreamlike Grand Hotel overlooking the beach. Together with the positioning of an open-air screen for evening screenings, the Festival inaugurates the Signor Rossi Award for films made by animation film students and the Franco Fossati Award for critical and non-fiction works on comics. Furthermore, Riminicomix opens its doors, the exhibition market, which in its first year of life hosts no more than a dozen publishers and collectors.
In 1998, Cartoon Club took over, with an enormous dose of madness (it will take 15 years to repay the investment), Fumo di china, the historic magazine of criticism and non-fiction on comics, which was in danger of closing (today published by Freecom srl ). From that moment the Rimini editorial office took over the reins of the monthly; animated cinema and comics become an indivisible union that the magazine continues to tell.
Cartoon Club’s growth has been unstoppable over the years. The adventures that we could tell are truly countless, with moments of great effort and others of great satisfaction.
Today the initiatives of the Festival occupy the most significant places in the city: from the suggestive locations of the Historic Center, the cultural heart of Rimini, up to Piazzale Fellini, set up as a real village that involves, with its events, the adjacent premises and the beach operators.
The Festival has become a complex event, with over 300 animated short films from 50 countries around the world; Japanese anime, graduation films produced by animation film schools, monographs, TV series. And then meetings with authors, directors and publishing houses; workshops, exhibitions, internships, debates with critics and artists; musical and theatrical performances, teaching activities and master classes.
Several competitions at the event, which thanks to various international juries, award awards to the best animated shorts produced in the world, to authors, students of animation film schools, cartoonists and writers.
A hundred Italian and foreign guests who come to the Festival every year.
Riminicomix, the exhibition-market today welcomes over 200 stand holders among publishers, antique comics, manga and collectibles.
In 2005 the Cosplay Convention was added, a great fun event that involves thousands of fans and enthusiasts of all ages and from all over the world who, dressed to perfection like their favorites – the comic book heroes of cinema, TV series or of the Games – invade the city.
However, the Festival goes beyond its summer activity and carries out a series of collateral activities, which continue to circulate throughout the year: exhibitions, meetings with the authors, special screenings dedicated to children and families, film reviews on specific themes (eg : bullying, fight against discrimination, ecology, disability, etc …), animation cinema and comics workshops in schools, social centers.
A world in motion that of Cartoon Club, never equal to itself, which has not lost the desire to dream and which for thirty-five years has been committed to promoting knowledge of communication languages, often underestimated, and to keeping its identity as an International Festival alive, open to the world, with an all-Romagna soul.